Sunset

I need to brush up on my Hegel.

I’m beginning to develop a theory. Please entertain this idea for the sake of argument which I admit could be complete nonsense. I’m just being creative and having some fun.

Joe Biden could be on “the right side of history.” Modernism could potentially last forever. It could prove to be eternal – the culmination of human progress. The growing chorus of people who feel themselves to be Anti-Modernist could be on “the wrong side of history.”

1.) There are historical cycles.

2.) Each historical cycle lasts about 100 to 130 years.

3.) Each historical cycle ends in a Crisis which typically lasts about 30 years.

4.) Each historical cycle is driven by an idea which becomes an elite consensus which determines the values and the shape of our culture.

5.) This idea is the Zeitgeist of an age of history. It sucks everything into its orbit like the gravity of the sun.

6.) Over the course of 100 to 130 years, the idea consumes all of society as it trickles down to the mass level and grows increasingly toxic. It produces a wave of violence which dissolves the existing social order like a forest fire which pushes forward the idea of the next cycle of history.

7.) This wave of violence always emerges out the decadent elite consensus of the dying cycle and it produces two types of radicals. The first type is the status quo fanatic which combusts the social order. The second type are reactive creative deviants. At the tail end of the Reformation Cycle in the Thirty Years War and English Civil War, Descartes and Hobbes would be examples of reactive creative deviants. They were breaking with the dominant patterns of thought in their time.

8.) Each of these ideas which define a whole age of history emerge out of a fertile period in art, religion and philosophy. It is also always a reaction to the idea of the previous age.

9.) Renaissance (1370s-1510s), Reformation (1520s to 1640s), Enlightenment (1650s to 1780s), Romantic (1790s to 1910s), Modernist (1910s to ???)

10.) Renaissance, culminates in Italian Wars between the Habsburgs and the French House of Valois, Sack of Rome in 1527. Reformation, culminates in the Thirty Years War and English Civil War, Sack of Magdeburg in 1631. Enlightenment, culminates in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, Battle of Leipzig in 1813. Romantic, culminates in the destruction of Dresden in 1945.

11.) The Renaissance was worldly. The Reformation was heavenly. The Enlightenment exalted secular reason and materialism. The Romantics exalted secular emotion, imagination and idealism. The Modernists were cynical and exalted the self and its liberation from the past.

12.) Just as the Romantics were idealists who were interested in the common man and the particular aspect or Volksgeist of each nation, the Modernists reacted to them by embracing elitism, cynicism and cosmopolitanism. Romantics built the nation-state. Modernists have deconstructed it.

13.) The Ur- philosopher who did the most to shape the idea of the 20th century and the entire subsequent course of Western philosophy was … Friedrich Nietzsche. If you think of the Enlightenment as a project that steadily built on the pioneering work of Descartes and Hobbes, Western philosophers (Heidegger and Foucault) have been steadily building on the work of Nietzsche for over a century.

14.) Modernism can be seen as a kind of absurd nihilistic outworking of Nietzsche’s philosophy that grows out of Bohemian enclaves in the early 20th century. The animating idea is the liberation and expression of the self, the rejection of the past or breaking down barriers and the celebration of the other. Hitler captured the essence of these people when he said, “there really are men who in principle feel meadows to be blue, the heavens green, clouds sulphur-yellow – or as they prefer to say “experience” them in this way.” Better yet, you could just say this was the idea that was in the air at the time roughly between 1870 and 1930.

“Munch’s The Scream is an icon of modern art, the Mona Lisa for our time. As Leonardo da Vinci evoked a Renaissance ideal of serenity and self-control, Munch defined how we see our own age – wracked with anxiety and uncertainty.

Essentially The Scream is autobiographical, an expressionistic construction based on Munch’s actual experience of a scream piercing through nature while on a walk, after his two companions, seen in the background, had left him. Fitting the fact that the sound must have been heard at a time when his mind was in an abnormal state, Munch renders it in a style which if pushed to extremes can destroy human integrity. As previously noted, the flowing curves of art nouveau represent a subjective linear fusion imposed upon nature, whereby the multiplicity of particulars is unified into a totality of organic suggestion with feminine overtones. But man is part of nature, and absorption into such a totality liquidates the individual. Beginning at this time Munch included art nouveau elements in many pictures but usually only in a limited or modified way. Here, however, in depicting his own morbid experience, he has let go, and allowed the foreground figure to become distorted by the subjectivized flow of nature; the scream could be interpreted as expressing the agony of the obliteration of human personality by this unifying force. Significantly, although it was Munch himself who underwent the experience depicted, the protagonist bears no resemblance to him or anyone else. The creature in the foreground has been depersonalized and crushed into sexlessness or, if anything, stamped with a trace of the femininity of the world that has come close to assimilating it.

Several facts indicate Munch was aware of the danger of art of this sort for a neurotic humanist like himself. He soon abandoned the style and rarely if ever again subjected a foreground figure to this kind of radical and systematic distortion.  …”

15.) The following captures “art” and “beauty” as it is understood in our times. Modernism is now over 120 years old when it was developing around the fin-de-siècle. 

You could say the latter is postmodernist and deconstructs beauty. I don’t really see much of a difference between modern and postmodern. The latter seems like a more extreme version of the former.

From the Wikipedia entry for “Contemporary art”:

This *IS NOT* the aesthetic of the 18th century Enlightenment. It is fundamentally different.

16.) This is what public monuments should look like in our times: an equestrian statue of a negro on horseback mocking the J.E.B. Stuart monument. The sheer absurdity of it is the point. It is nihilistic and expresses the idea that anything is possible. Modernism is about the rejection of the past.

This is also the rejection of the past and reflects the avant-garde spirit.

See also Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 work Fountain:

This isn’t something new that is being born.

It is something old that is dying and which goes back to around 1890 to 1910.

Take Joker for example.

Arthur Fleck is a lonely nihilist.

He is the sad, pitiful product of our own cultural malaise in which social bonds have been utterly shattered. The delusion that overwhelms him and the violence he commits is an act of self expression. When he sees the world he hates burning, he says it is beautiful.

It reminds me of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Fleck is twisted. It is a stream of consciousness movie that ends in Arkham Asylum. It is a Modernist film.

17.) Every age of history or natural century has a shelf life. The last person who was born in the 19th century around the fin-de-siècle when Modernism was born died in 2017.

The sunrise of Romanticism came around 1800 and its sunset occurred between 1914 and 1945. At the same time that Romanticism was going through its sunset, Modernism was going through its sunrise. This is just a way of expressing the idea that all things including the 20th century come to their end. The current order is destined to die and be replaced its successor age.

The 18th century was the Siècle des Lumières. What will our century be called?

About Hunter Wallace 9671 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

43 Comments

  1. Enlightened Eighteenth.
    Nihilistic Nineteenth.
    Turbulent Twentieth.
    Troubled Twenty-first.
    Terrible Twenty-second?

    This is how it looks to me. Tnrough the (metaphorical, “as-if”) lens of my computer monitor, I watch the unfolding of the twilight of the West. I never hated this, my country (as so many left-indoctrinated NPCs and hangers-on of the academic subculture seem to do),but now I relate to it as if I were the relative of a patient whose near-pendency of death is certain. At age seventy-six, I am within hailing distance of natural expiry of this incarnation. Although my own will to live is strong, I am a prole, retired. What can I do? Nothig except accept the death of my body, and the dissolution of the soul that made me Robert Pinkerton, components of that soul reverting to Spirit. But if my soul does retain any degree of coherence in the Next World, I would like to remain intercarnate for several centuries. Yet even though the socio-political (again, metaphorical, “as-if”) “scenery” becomes bleaker as the ride toward discarnation (death of the body followed by dissolution of the soul) continues, my friends both human and feline, help me enjoy the ride. But I pray the Gods take me before I deterioralt like Mr. Biden.

    • What a great comment, RobertPinkerton. However, Mr. Biden is no exception. There’s millions like him. And they are, I suspect, all happily, voluntarily wearing the face diapers so that – GASP – invisible demonic entities coughed into the air by a hapless passerby do not kill him. Or if his own hidden entities don’t kill someone else. This is what we’ve come to.

      Give me a reason, someone, anyone, to wish for this demented species to continue in its present form.

      Anyway, Robert, whether our souls do retain any degree of coherence in the next world is the Big Question. Truly, we see only through a glass darkly.

  2. “I’m beginning to develop a theory. Please entertain this idea for the sake of argument which I admit could be complete nonsense. I’m just being creative and having some fun.”

    That’s just fine and dandy, Mr. Griffin. Try not to take it to heart when folks go off on you for looking deeply into matters.

    Sometimes it can be nonsense, though, more often the nonsense is a projection from those who are either not so reflective, not so deep, or maybe just those who are just a little threatened by how smart you are.

  3. “Joe Biden could be on “the right side of history.” Modernism could potentially last forever. It could prove to be eternal – the culmination of human progress. The growing chorus of people who feel themselves to be Anti-Modernist could be on “the wrong side of history.””

    Well, in Christian terms, we could think of it this way – in the short term, your earthly life, any one of us could be casualties of being our of sync with the tsunami wave that is every period in history.

    Yes, we have to entertain the thought that, whether we like it or not, Mankind, as we know it, might have take a turn, some time back, and will never recoup it.

    That said, I tend to see these things in a Christian Light – we are here for a time, and what we are held responsible to is that we please The Lord with our endeavours, not how many earthly battles we win.

    But, of course, we, each of us would like to win some battles, and or witness the winning of some for those people and things we value.

  4. Extremely interesting material, and thought-provoking.

    I thought, though, that Howe and Strauss asserted that the historical saeculum circled like the seasons, defying linear progress.

    In which case Joe Biden and eternal postmodernism would be a vampire, the undead but not the living. Never could that in any way be the right side of history.

    Nietzsche would be on the side of the oppressed nationalists were he to enter 2020.

    • I’m not really working off Strauss and Howe although, yes, they assert that history is cyclical, which was one of the things I read that got me thinking about this. Modernists believe history is linear. It “progresses” and is a straight line that culminates in them. This is why they say you are “on the wrong side of history”

        • Even a seven-word simple declarative sentence and you got it wrong. I’ll admit I’m baited and you trolls got me, but I have to point it out: “their” instead of “there,” in the event a smart person couldn’t catch it, maybe distracted. They say bad spellers are not necessarily dumb, but good spellers are always smart. That doesn’t apply to trolls and bots, though. You’re dumb.

          • Being a full fledged member of the cannon fodder class circumstance did not permit me a formal education such as the one you have instead i recieved my schooling in thee art of manhood. It is the duty of the brave to protect the not so brave such as yourself.but if you were as smart as you think you are you would know better than to slur and insult those who protect you. I will not bear arms to defend your kind you will get what you deserve!! I hope you acclimate yourself quickly to your new life as.a nfac concubine. Serves you right!!!

          • My kind find a weapons check much more important than a spell check nothing against a spell check but we the soldiers of christ have our priorities. I trust your bright Ass gets that sissy flake!!!

    • Once Biden is fixed on his black wife we shall see how he fares. He’s already delaying it at least a week.

      • What biden sir? Joe biden ? The body double biden? The clone biden? The holagraphic biden? Doesnt matter none of them would win they know it better than we do .this escalates this will intensefy different methods different weapons multiple and different fronts.for your own sake continue.to prepare keep watch dont let your guard down. Election very doubtful.

  5. I have scene both “The Fountain” and the DuChamp “artists bust” which looks like a colander with googly eyes glued on from what i remember in person and refusing to break from my outspoken belief in a universal sense of beauty and white western morals, ended up in a heated conversation with my gf of the time and other patrons. I have always recognized what this movement was as IT IS IN THE THEIR OWN TITLE, “ANTI-ART” but try convincining a crowd whose entire self worth comes from their status and social standing that this garbage has no merits.

    In regards to being “on the right side of history” I have been thinking exactly what you stated. I see a country in which no matter where I go, whites are the minority and small ethno states of Indians, Muslims, black people and masses of central American Indians are the norm, not to mention that the power base who pushes all these anti talking points also has all the money and power. How can you compete with people like Bezos wife who just gave BILLIONS to LGBT and Black & minority equity funds just like every other billionaire and multi millionaire and corporation does.

    It is very possible to think that we might come out on the wrong side of this and have a future where all history is reversed or banned. If you’re not religious, I suggest showing some humility and offering up you prayers to our Lord.

    • He submitted the Fountain to the armory show 1917 under a pseudonym while he was a judge. It was a practical joke against the other judges that others eventually took very seriously. I doubt he intended it to be art.

  6. Sorry, but I have a hard time getting into all this. I really don’t believe in cycles and I think if you are looking for one, you can “find” it. We need solutions, and we need them yesterday. The idea that the worm will eventually turn doesn’t do it for me. The enemy has never had as much control over mass media(propaganda) and communication as they do now. We gave up the power in our own societies. Is it even possible to get it back?

    • Without jesus no
      He commands his own ” come ye out of.babylon. the destruction of america is the last act before the show begins.

      • Cyclic views of history are totally PAGAN. Only the Hebraic/Adamic view of History is LINEAR- because, as we who are God’s own know, all ‘history’ is ‘His Story.’ And (as Luther said!) HE MUST WIN THE BATTLE.

        If this perverse state is normal, then I am a radical, as a Trinitarian, liturgical, Monarchic White Christian Male. And I would gladly ‘burn this b*tch down.’ Indeed, God commands us to overthrow Satan’s kingdom.

        But I’m not going to do that, because that would be Anarchy. And God… is a God of ORDER.

        No, this is an ABERRATION. This is SATAN at work, and ALL OF THE BLM RIOTS, all of the WOKE WHINING is demonic in intent, and these folks are POSSESSED by Legion- for they are many.

        And only by fasting, prayer, and exorcism (‘by any means necessary’- up to an including a war) can these be ‘delivered’…. from this plane of existence.

        After the war [WWII], while sending one of his priests to a parish in a village, Metropolitan Joseph (of Serbia) gave him a cross and asked him: ‘Do you remember how the Spartan mother saw off her son to the battle, giving him the spear? I give you the cross of Christ, and am sending you to the terrible war with the godless. Here, my son, is the cross and the vow… with it or on it.’

        https://www.academia.edu/10287440/NEW_ZION_IN_BABYLON_-_PART_4_1941-1965_?email_work_card=view-paper

        • Sir meaniing no offense only admiration for you you are a ferocious man john brown john the baptist.and john dillinger all wrappep.up in one .lol

          • Terry, Ivan, I am only a Christian who loves my King and my Kingdom. And if I must die a martyr, it will be at His choosing, and His timetable. Until then, I prefer to remain at my post, doing my duty. Even if it’s shoveling sh*te, as the comments on this and other fora basically amount to refuting.

        • I agree that history is not necessarily cyclical, and is ultimately linear. Egyptian civilisation lasted for THOUSANDS of years, and is not God’s true Church, and its culture, the same in every age?

  7. Then, there’s yet another cycle to ponder, the one that tends to follow the sine curve, where great civilizations arise, peak, then, disappear. We could well be headed for a New Dark Ages, eh?

  8. Very interesting.

    We calculating cycles a little other way. For Eastern Europeans, central date is Middle age crisis. End of medieval warm period, black plague and great famine made one great reset and the end of this horror and recovery was what made Europe and white race this as we know it today.

    This happened ca 600 years ago. Now Rome lasted also ca 600 years. Officially Roman Republic was founded in 509 BC but first centuries it was nothing more than one of the many infighting forces in this area. Only after finishing off Pyrrhus and Hannibal, Rome and it`s culture became dominant. This happened ca 200 years BC and 600 years later, 5th century Rome was already in it`s way out.

    And this way out was very similar to our current situation. Economy disaster, social collapse, mass immigration, degeneracy and corruption everywhere.

    I think, that we are nearing to something much bigger than end of another largely fictional cycle.

    • “I think, that we are nearing to something much bigger than end of another largely fictional cycle”

      Yes. Much, much bigger. The various predictions of a “human” race of an artificial nature, etc. etc. all doing some Evil Leader’s bidding, may occur, but won’t last long. God is mad, and this ending will be the granddaddy of all time, I am sure.

  9. 6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.

    7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

    8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

    9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

  10. Kaczynski is a better guide to the future than Hegel:

    “The system does not and cannot exist to satisfy human needs. Instead, it is human behavior that has to be modified to fit the needs of the system. This has nothing to do with the political or social ideology that may pretend to guide the technological system. It is not the fault of capitalism and it is not the fault of socialism. It is the fault of technology, because the system is guided not by ideology but by technical necessity.”

    Barring a doomsday scenario, what’s coming next is the era of Nietzsche’s “Superman.” Things like transsexuality and Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain implants are just a foreshadowing. AI like GPT-3 is getting very advanced, and will soon match and exceed human general intelligence. Verne Vinge’s long-standing prediction is 2030 at the latest (see “The Coming Technological Singularity”). Anti-aging technologies, genetic manipulation of humans, quantum computers… There’s a strong chance people (or machine/human hybrids) will begin to speciate into radically different castes: the superhuman vs. “human classic.” So while the zeitgeist since the French Revolution has been “Egalite!,” the trendy and exciting frontier of the future will be elites discarding human equality and becoming superhuman. Reactionary luddites, conservatives, and uncool fuddy-duddies will be the ones demanding to stay “equal” at the human level. In this sense, technology will be powerfully aristocratic and right-wing. The shocking, anti-liberal revolt of the future will be the revolt against *being human.* Human dignity will likely fall by the wayside, when “human” becomes something low status and undesirable, and the value of human labor plummets to zero.

    The good news is that Faustian white men (like Musk) have a very good chance of producing the first true AI. It will be our final “F*** You” gift to the woke world. The bad news is that all the petty distinctions between human beings, our ethnicities, customs, and varying IQs, will be so much dust when faced with extremely long-lived beings vastly more intelligent than we are.

    • Elites often seek to keep certain advanced technology to themselves. It’s part of their sense of superiority and entitlement mindset. But everything they seek to use is artificial. Some of them might think, for example, that uploading memories to a computer with AI means they’ll live forever. It isn’t the actual person, however, but just a set of data related to the person.

      They’re continuing the project of trying to become like God, which is always doomed to failure. Even if you don’t believe in a higher power, it’s important to remember that behind the idea of God is that He’s uncreated. All the power is His, because He made the universe and all the lifeforms within it. Aping some aspects of God’s creative ability here and there, in a pale imitation that depends on inorganic materials and methods, simply proves we’ll always come up short compared to Him.

      • The problem for the elites is that very few of them could actually make the technology they use. Sure they may own companies but the technology itself comes from STEM people (I.e the unwashed masses by elite standards.) This is why they can never contain technology permanently and it always “escapes.“ if they’re counting on AI to replace us mere mortals, I’m willing to bet the people who create the AI might have something else in mind all together.

        Years ago I read a sci-fi novel, and in it the protagonist eventually finds out the hi-tech civilization he was fighting was actually run by the engineers. They let the “elites” play lord of the manor and ‘rule’ but the real power was with the STEM people. If the elites got too uppity the engineers would simply turn off all the elites’ toys including the weapons of their enforcers. The same could very well happen in real life.The elites could very well end up serving the AI and not the other way around.

        • The arabs say if you have no land you have no honor i say if you have no land you have no power!! You have what they let you have you do what they let you do you participate at their pleasure.your soul or your life whats it gonna be man!!!

  11. @Brad, I think you are confusing Modernism with post-Modernism.

    What we are seeing today is the decline and decay of Modernism, which is being replaced by post-Modernism.

    Frank Lloyd Wright, Rockwell Kent, and Pablo Picasso being replaced by Calvin Klein. LOL.

  12. Hunter, I like your basic ideas, but I think you are straining to fit historical events into your 100-130 year cycles. Further, not everyone is sucked into the orbits you refer to. There’s plenty of outliers. JMO!

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